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Monday, 22 December 2014

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Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate Print E-mail

A New Measure of On-Time School Completion

by Roy L. Johnson, M.S.

The National Center for Education Statistics in the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, has released a new measure to estimate the percentage of high school students who graduate on time. This new measure, referred to as Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate (AFGR), expands the number of indicators that NCES provides on high school dropouts and completers in the United States.

Every year since 1988, NCES has released a series of reports that provide trend data on the characteristics of school dropouts and completers in the nation as a whole and by state or jurisdiction.

To the three traditional indicators – event dropout rate, status dropout rate, and status completion rate – the averaged freshman graduation rate has been added to bring the number of NCES indicators of dropouts and completers to four.

Data for this new measure were drawn from counts of enrollment by grade and graduates in the Common Core of Data (CCD) State Non-fiscal Survey of Public Elementary/Secondary Education. Data are available for three school years: 2001-02, 2002-03 and 2003-04.

The 50 states and the District of Columbia reported counts of high school graduates in both 2001-02 and 2002-03, while 48 states and the District of Columbia reported graduate counts for 2003-04 (see the table on Page 19 for rates nationally and by state and for rank orders by state). The data were reported by state education agencies for high school graduates between the period of October 1 and September 30 of each applicable school year.

Types of Dropout Data

According to NCES, the definitions of its indicators of school dropout and school completion include the following.

  • Event dropout rate – the percentage of private and public high school students who left high school between the beginning of one school year and the beginning of the next without earning a high school diploma or its equivalent. (This rate is also referred to as an annual dropout rate.)
  • Status dropout rate – the percentage of individuals in a given age range (i.e., 16-24, 16-18, 18-24) who are not in school and have not earned a high school diploma or equivalency, irrespective of when they dropped out. (This rate focuses on an overall age group or cohort rather than on individuals.)
  • Status completion rate – the percentage of individuals in a given age range who are not in high school and who have earned a high school diploma or equivalency credential, irrespective of when the credential was earned. (This rate also is referred to as the school completion rate as the positive way of expressing the status dropout rate.)
  • Averaged freshman graduation rate – the proportion of high school freshmen who graduate with a regular diploma four years after starting ninth grade. (This rate measures the extent to which schools are graduating students on time.)

Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate

The averaged freshman graduation rate is calculated by dividing the number of graduates with regular diplomas by the size of the incoming freshman class four years earlier and expressed as a percentage. Aggregate student enrollment data and aggregate counts of the number of diplomas awarded are used to estimate the percent of students who graduate on time. Major findings include the following.

  • About three-fourths of freshmen in the United States graduated from high school on time in the three years of data reported.
  • The averaged freshman graduation rate in the United States increased from 72.6 percent in 2001-02 to 73.9 percent in 2002-03 and to 75.0 percent in 2003-04.
  • For the class of 2001-02, the averaged freshman graduation rate of public schools ranged from a low of 57.9 percent in South Carolina to a high of 85.8 percent in New Jersey. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia had rates lower than the overall average of 72.6 percent: Alabama, Alaska, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington. Nine states had rates of 80.0 percent or higher: Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont and Wisconsin. In 2001-02, Texas ranked 30th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia with a rate of 73.5 percent.
  • For the class of 2002-03, the averaged freshman graduation rate of public schools ranged from a low of 59.6 percent in the District of Columbia to a high of 87.0 percent in New Jersey. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia had rates lower than the overall average of 73.9 percent: Alabama, Alaska, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina and Tennessee. Fourteen states had rates of 80.0 percent or higher: Connecticut, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin. In 2002-03, Texas ranked 30th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia with a rate of 75.5 percent.
  • For the class of 2003-04, the averaged freshman graduation rate of public schools ranged from a low of 57.4 percent in Nevada to a high of 87.6 percent in Nebraska. Twenty states and the District of Columbia had rates lower than the overall average of 75.0 percent: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina and Tennessee. Fifteen states had rates of 80.0 percent or higher: Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah and Vermont. In 2003-04, Texas ranked 26th among the 48 reporting states and the District of Columbia with a rate of 76.7 percent.
  • From 2001-02 to 2003-04, 42 of the 48 reporting states or jurisdictions had an increase in their averaged freshman graduation rates, and six experienced declines in rates.

The addition of the averaged freshman graduation rate will expand the picture of school holding power in the nation’s public schools. The four NCES rates (the event dropout rate, the status dropout rate, the status school completion rate, and the averaged freshman graduation rate) along with other traditional measures, such as the attrition rate and cohort dropout rates, provide unique information about high school dropouts, completers and graduates. Attrition rates measure the number of students lost from enrollment between two points in time (e.g., ninth grade and 12th grade enrollment). IDRA conducts an annual attrition study for the state of Texas.

Though each rate has different meaning and calculation methods, each provides unique information that is important for assessing schools’ quality of education and school holding power.

Resources

U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Dropout Rates in the United States: 2002 and 2003 (June 2006).

U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, The Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate for Public High Schools From the Common Core of Data: School Years 2002-03 and 2003-04 (July 2006).

Roy L. Johnson, M.S., is director of the IDRA Evaluation Research Division. Comments and questions may be directed to him via e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Averaged Freshman Graduation Rates,
By State, School Years 2001-02, 2002-03 and 2003-04

State or Jurisdiction

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

Rate Rank Rate Rank Rate Rank
United States 72.6 ? 73.9 ? 75 ?
Alabama 62.1 46 64.7 43 65 45
Alaska 65.9 43 68 41 67.2 40
Arizona 74.7 26 75.9 25 66.8 32
Arkansas 74.8 25 76.6 21 76.8 25
California 72.7 33 74.1 32 73.9 31
Colorado 74.7 27 76.4 22 78.7 19
Connecticut 79.7 11 80.9 12 80.7 12
Delaware 69.5 39 73 36 72.9 34
District of Columbia 68.4 40 59.6 51 68.2 39
Florida 63.4 45 66.7 42 66.4 43
Georgia 61.1 48 60.8 49 61.2 47
Hawaii 72.1 25 71.3 39 72.6 35
Idaho 79.3 13 81.4 10 81.5 10
Illinois 77.1 18 75.9 26 80.3 15
Indiana 73.1 31 75.5 29 73.5 32
Iowa 84.1 4 85.3 4 85.8 4
Kansas 77.1 19 76.9 20 77.9 21
Kentucky 69.8 38 71.7 38 73 33
Louisiana 64.4 44 64.1 44 69.4 38
Maine 75.6 24 76.3 23 77.6 22
Maryland 79.7 12 79.2 15 79.5 16
Massachusetts 77.6 16 75.7 27 79.3 17
Michigan 72.9 32 74 33 72.5 36
Minnesota 83.9 5 84.8 6 84.7 6
Mississippi 61.2 47 62.7 47 62.7 46
Missouri 76.8 20 78.3 17 80.4 13
Montana 79.8 10 81 11 80.4 14
Nebraska 83.9 6 85.2 5 87.6 1
Nevada 71.9 26 72.3 37 57.4 49
New Hampshire 77.8 15 78.2 18 78.7 20
New Jersey 85.8 1 87 1 86.3 2
New Mexico 67.4 42 63.1 46 67 41
New York 60.5 49 60.9 48 NA NA
North Carolina 68.2 41 70.1 40 71.4 37
North Dakota 85 2 86.4 2 86.1 3
Ohio 77.5 17 79 16 81.3 11
Oklahoma 76 22 76 24 77 23
Oregon 71 27 73.7 35 74.2 30
Pennsylvania 80.2 9 81.7 9 82.2 9
Rhode Island 75.7 23 77.7 19 75.9 28
South Carolina 57.9 51 59.7 50 60.6 48
South Dakota 79 14 83 8 83.7 7
Tennessee 59.6 50 63.4 45 66.1 44
Texas 73.5 30 75.5 30 76.7 26
Utah 80.5 8 80.2 14 83 8
Vermont 82 7 83.6 7 85.4 5
Virginia 76.7 21 80.6 13 79.3 18
Washington 72.2 24 74.2 31 74.6 29
West Virginia 74.2 29 75.7 28 76.9 24
Wisconsin 84.8 3 85.8 3 NA NA
Wyoming 74.4 28 73.9 34 76 27


Source: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, Dropout Rates in the United States: 2002 and 2003 (June 2006), The Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate for Public High Schools From the Common Core of Data: School Years 2002-03 and 2003-04 (July 2006).

[©2006, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Every effort has been made to maintain the content in its original form. However, accompanying charts and graphs may not be provided here. To receive a copy of the original article by mail or fax, please fill out our information request and feedback form. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]

 
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